Skagit/Islands Head Start Programs
Head Start centers provide half-day preschool classrooms for low-income children in Skagit, Island and San Juan counties. Forty percent of the children enrolled speak a primary language other than English. A quarter of enrolled preschool children have a developmental disability in addition to being low income. Research shows that children enrolled in Head Start are more successful in school, are more likely to graduate from high school, and more likely to go to college.
Early Head Start supports pregnant women and children ages birth through three. These services are provided through home visitation and toddler classes
. SIHS services are family centered. Parents are respected as the primary educators and nurturers of their children. Head Start offers family members opportunities and support for growth and change, believing that people can identify their own strengths, needs, interests, and solutions.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
SIHS received the Washington State Association for Head Start and ECEAP award for Excellence in Innovation because of our work in supporting children’s learning in their primary language. Dual language or bilingual curriculum approach in centers with high Spanish speaking enrollment
has led to increased early literacy skills and school readiness among English language learners. SIHS collects detailed outcomes/progress information on children to support our program design and teaching strategies as we work to ensure children leave Head Start ready to learn in kindergarten.
SIHS is funded primarily by a federal grant
through Skagit Valley College. This basic funding, however, does not include enough to support innovative programs such as “I Am Moving, I Am Learning” which integrates physical activities as well as healthy nutritional choices into the daily classroom routine. Other areas of need for support include improvements in outdoor environments, purchasing equipment to complete hearing screenings, supporting the provision of mental health and nutrition consultation for families.